Not only did ex-India opener Wasim Jaffer reclaim the record of Ranji Trophy’s highest run-scorer, he also became the first batsman to hit 32 centuries in the Ranji Trophy yesterday.
Powered by Jaffer’s 132 off 246 balls, Mumbai reached 287 for six at the end of second day’s play; taking a 139-run lead in reply to Saurashtra’s 148 in the Ranji Trophy final at the Wankhede Stadium.
Hiken Shah, batting on 41 and Dhawal Kulkarni, the pick of the Mumbai bowlers with 4-24, is giving him company on 18.
Jaffer had admitted his difficulty to focus ever since his father has been battling for life in a Bandra hospital. Ahead of the big match, the Mumbai team management took a decision to not talk about his father’s illness inside the dressing room.
“We don’t want him to think about it (his father’s illness), and even he wants it that way. It is certainly helping him to completely focus on his game. He said ‘thank you’ to everyone in the dressing room after the knock,” a team official revealed to MiD DAY.
As expected, there wasn’t any fanfare or wild celebrations when Jaffer reached his milestones. His flick to surpass former Mumbai teammate Amol Muzumdar’s tally of 9105 to become the tournament’s all-time highest run-scorer was treated as any other run. He also completed 16,000 first-class runs with it.
And when the Wankhede Stadium crowd gave him a standing ovation when he got his century No 32 with a powerful cover drive to surpass Delhi’s Ajay Sharma’s record of 31 tons, the acknowledgement was not emphatic.
“The record was on my mind because so much has been written about it in the last few days. Scoring a hundred in the final is always very special. That the team is in a good position is also quite pleasing. We hope to consolidate our lead now,” said Jaffer.
The classy right-hander did not start his innings in convincing fashion, but he cut loose just before the lunch break, slamming three consecutive fours on the leg side off left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja. He brought up his half-century with a six over long-on off the same bowler.
Helped by some ordinary umpiring, Jaffer was lucky to get away with a couple of leg-before appeals early on in his innings. Just when it appeared he was not out, umpire K Hariharan raised the finger to a ball that would have missed stumps. The disappointment on Mumbai skipper Ajit Agarkar’s face was evident when he was adjudged lbw off Jadeja.
“Mistakes happen. They are part and parcel of the game,” Jaffer said. However, he might have felt guilty for running out Sachin Tendulkar (22), who took 15 balls to get off the mark. Wanting a single, Jaffer sent back Tendulkar, but he was a long way down by then. Kamlesh Makvana at point made no mistake. It was first time Tendulkar was run-out in the Ranji Trophy. “It was quite unfortunate. He just said carry on and don’t bother about the run out,” said Jaffer.